LANSING - When Michigan voters go to the polls on August 7th, they will have the opportunity to vote for the Democratic, Republican, or -for the first time in the state's history- Libertarian party candidates.
Luke Sciberras chairs the Capital Area Libertarian Party, serving Ingham, Clinton and Shiawassee Counties. He says this is a big deal for his party, and his state. He explains, "We are participating in the Michigan Primary this year. When you go in August 7th, you can ask for a Republican ballot, a Democratic ballot, or the Libertarian ballot. Around forty-four candidates currently are running across the state. We have a contested Gubernatorial primary, which is the first time in Michigan that a third party has had a contested Primary for Governor. So it's historical, not just in our own party, but in the state as well."
Libertarian candidates, including Gubernatorial hopefuls John J. Tatar and Bill Gelineau, will appear on the August ballot due to the performances of the Libertarian Party in the previous election cycle. Under Michigan state law, if a party receives at least 5% of the vote for their Secretary of State nominee, their candidates have the right to a primary the following election cycle. While the larger Democratic and Republicans Parties have always been eligible to appear on primary ballots the highly competitive 2016 election was the first time the Libertarian Party reached that magic 5%.
With Libertarians running in the upcoming primaries, Sciberras has a crash course on his party for potential voters. He defines Libertarianism as "a belief system that individuals are endowed individual rights and freedoms. Those freedoms and rights extend as far as another person's begin." This translates to as small a government as possible, with little to no oversight, aid, or involvement.
No Libertarian candidate has ever won the governorship in Michigan, and and none currently serve in the state legislature, though a few Michigan Libertarians do hold local offices. Sciberras hopes this does not deter Libertarian voters in August and November, even if the party's chances are slim.
He says, "Personally, I've always been a strong advocate for voting for the person that you would actually want to see in office...the idea that if you vote for somebody that can't win is a wasted vote, well that would mean that everybody who voted for someone that didn't win wasted their vote, and nobody agrees with that statement. Just because you vote for somebody that didn't win doesn't mean you wasted your vote, or else 50% of people are wasting a vote every singe election."
The Libertarian Party of Michigan will be holding a candidate meet-and-greet for voters to learn more about the Libertarian candidates and party before the August 7 Primaries. The event will be held at the Crafted Bean in Lansing on July 28 at 5:00 p.m..